Wednesday, September 5, 2012

After getting back from Ca. at 11:07pm Wed. night, I left for the Salt Lake City at 7:15pm Thus. to compete in the AHRMA 'Bonneville Vintage GP' at Miller Motorsports Park.  I was to ride the same two bikes I rode at Portland three weeks earlier: Gary Roper's '51 Velocette MAC and Mike Bungay's '72 H-D Sprint.  You'll recall that the Velo dropped it's intake valve seat almost immediately at PIR and Gary worked non-stop to get the head repaired, the cylinder bored for a 0.040" over Triumph piston (which has a different wrist pin diameter, so the small end bush had to be re-sized), and get everything back together and tested.  But, his trouble didn't end there.  On the way to Miller, his van died outside Winnemucca, Nv.  Gary and his wife had planned to go to a BSA rally in Ca. after Miller, so he had his BSA A-10 with him.  He pulled this out of the van and rode it back to Winnemucca to get a tow back to town.  They checked into a motel and called their son back in Medford, Or.. and asked him to drive their pick-up to Winnemucca so the pile could be transferred from the van.  They waited for him to arrive, not knowing he was calling the motel repeatedly, but the desk wasn't picking up.  Hours later, he finally got through to tell them he couldn't find the key to the pick-up and wasn't coming.  The U-Haul dealer in Winnemucca didn't have a truck, so Gary had to ride the A-10 two hours on the interstate to Elko, pick up a truck, return to Winnemucca and transfer the pile.  They arrived at Miller about 5 am Sat. morn.
Gary Roper's 1951 Velocette MAC
In the mean time, I got in a couple of practice sessions on Mike's Sprint, and it seemed that the 'ignition' problem we had at Portland was a fuel flow problem after all and was now cured.  We did gear down once and decided we had to gear down again.  That evening, we picked up Mike's son Brennen and his motor guru, Karl Engellenner, at the airport.
Mike Bungay's 350 H-D Sprint
Sat. morning, both the Velo and Sprint worked well in practice.  There were only three Class 'C' entries.  In addition to me on the Velo, was Fred Mork on his rigid 500cc OHC pre-war Norton. and Ryan Ambrose on Big D's rigid 500 pre-unit Triumph twin.  They gridded us behind the CB160 class, which had a LeMans start.  After these riders ran across the track and bump started their bikes, we were flagged off.  Ryan quickly disappeared and I pulled well clear of Mork.  The game then became how many 160s could we pass before the end of the 6 lap race.  In my case, it was nine and in Ryan's case it was 21, only failing to catch former Word Speedway Champion, Billy Hamill.
Tom Marquardt's 492cc Honda four, a Formula 500 class bike
There was a bit of a gap until my 350gp race, so I got a chance to check out 'Motorcycle Classics' concours.  Pre-unit BSA twins seemed to be most plentiful, but I think my favorite was Fred Mork's unrestored Excelsior.
Fred Mork's Excelsior
A 250cc Norton Jubilee, the smallest Norton ever made
An Egli Vincent
A BSA B-50 powered streamliner that had just set a record at Bonneville

After seeing the lap times from the 250gp race, where Paul Germain finished a very close 2nd on his extremely well developed DT-1 roadracer. I knew I had my hands full, as Paul was 'bumping up' to the 350gp class.  Paul got the jump on me at the start and I followed him the first lap.  I managed to get by him on the 2nd lap but, about half way through the lap, my motor cut out and my race was over.  I suspected the same ignition problem we had at PIR had reoccured but, in fact, it was a different ignition
problem: the set screws on the rotor of the Dyna 'S' system had backed out and the rotor had shifted, going out of time.  The set screws were red Locitited and the rotor retimed, and we were ready to try it again the next day.
The bike ran well in the 1st Sun. practice, but I was getting some chatter.  It seemed like the front, but I decided it could be originating with the slightly out of round rear tire, so we switched the rear wheel to one that had a used, but good, tire.  I just did 3 laps on the Velo as it seemed good, then went out again on the Sprint.  On the 2nd lap, the motor cut out again.  This time, the rotor hadn't shifted and it wasn't clear what the problem was other than that it was ignition.  So we installed a self generating electronic magneto that we had used on the bike previously.  This had been replaced by the Dyna 'S' because the new analog tach we had installed, to replace the digital one I found hard to read, wouldn't work with the original ignition.  So we left the Dyna ignition on with a sparkplug grounded to the frame, just to work the tach.
The Aermacchi naked, before the stator for the electronic magneto was installed
The Jim Belland frame.  N.B. the coil for the magneto
A good view of the Belland frame and here you see the magneto stator

Sunday's Class 'C' race was pretty much a repeat of Saturday's, except this time Ryan caught and passed Billy Hamill for the overall win.  I passed a dozen 160s for 11th overall.
In Sunday's 250gp, which Paul Germain won, his fastest lap was three seconds faster than I had gone all weekend.  I had to step it up.  Again, Paul got the jump on me at the start of Sunday's 350gp, but I got by him on the first lap.  He came back by me on the 2nd lap and I got back by him on the 3rd.  Concentrate.  I was starting to get a bit tired, but beat him to the line by less than 3/4 of a second.   It was a satisfying finish to a weekend of challenges, and especially gratifying to Mike and Karl, who had worked so hard.
But, my admiration for Paul increases, as he does it alll himself, from building and develpping a superb 250 that runs with the 350's, to riding to the limit, to driving himself from Winnipeg, Manitoba to and from the races.

1 comment:

  1. Any chance of jim belland building another frame for me ?